> The Etchingham Steam Band > Songs > Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away
> Steeleye Span > Songs > Some Rival
> Eliza Carthy > Songs > The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away

Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away / Some Rival /
The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away

[ Roud 587 ; Ballad Index BuDa005 ; VWML GB/6a/2 , GB/4/19 , AW/6/129 ; Wiltshire 949 ; trad.]

The Etchingham Steam Band (Shirley Collins, Ashley Hutchings, Ian Holder and Vic Gammon) sang Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away live on December 23, 1974 at the “Nova Scotia” in Bristol. This recording was included in 1995 on their eponymous Fledg'ling CD, The Etchingham Steam Band. This version is based on Henry Hills' My True Love I've Lost, as collected with other songs by W. Percy Merrick in November 1899 and printed in Journal of the Folk Song Society, I (3) 1901, 96. The E.S.B.'s first verse is introduced from elsewhere and the second is altered.

Steeleye Span (then with Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick) sang this song as Some Rival. This is a set from Lucy Broadwood's Traditional English Songs and Carols (1908, pp. 108-11), which was noted from farm labourer Mr Lough at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1898 [VWML GB/6a/2] . This track is on their tenth album, Storm Force Ten (1977), and was also released as the B-side of their single The Boar's Head Carol.

George Butterworth collected The American King from Mrs Cranstone (c. 50), of Wood Dale, Billingshurst, in July 1907 [VWML GB/4/19] . This was printed in 1977 in Michael Downey's book of “hitherto unpublished folk songs collected by George Butterworth”, The Ploughboy's Glory.

Keith Kendrick learnt Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True-Love Away from Eddie Upton (who was dance caller with the Etchingham Steam Band; hence their nearly identical verses) and sang it in 1997 on his Fellside CD Home Ground and on the 2001 Fellside anthology Flash Company: A Celebration of 25 Years of Fellside Records

Eliza Carthy sang this song with several different verses as The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away in 1998 on her album Rice, accompanied by Saul Rose on melodeon and Ed Boyd on guitar. According to Malcolm Douglas, her text appears to be collated from two sources: a set noted by Cecil Sharp from Robert Rowlands at Shipley, Sussex, in 1908; and one which appeared in The Journal of the Folk Song Society (I (4) 1902, 205); tune and first verse from Henry Burstow of Horsham, Sussex, with four verses from Mr Woodman (like Henry, a bell-ringer) at Warnham, Sussex. A few additional changes have been made to the text as transcribed here. Verses 1-2, 5: Mr Rowlands. Verses 3 (a standard floating verse, here changed a bit from its form in FSJ) and 4: Mr Woodman.

Kate Rusby sang the Etchingham Steam Band's version as Some Tyrant in 2001 on her CD Little Lights.

Jon Boden sang Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away, leaving out the third verse, as the January 25, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Jim Moray sang The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away in 2016 on his CD Upcetera.

Narthen (formerly Coope, Simpson, Fraser & Freya) sang The Rifles in 2018 on their eponymous No Masters album Narthen. They noted on the song and its collector:

This song was collected from the King Family of Castle Eaton in Wiltshire by Alfred Williams [VWML AW/6/129] . It was first published in 1915 as part of a serialisation, and then in his collection Folk Songs of the Upper Thames [ Wiltshire 949 ] , published in 1923.

An interesting collector, [Williams] was born in 1877 and due to family hardship missed most of his education, leaving school at eleven and then going on to be a blacksmith in the railway works.

While still at work he undertook an English Literature correspondence course, going on to first write poetry and then prose, always about the Wiltshire he knew. He left the ironworks due to ill health, but joined up in 1916, serving in Ireland and India before returning in 1919. His collections are a wonderful record of the material sung at the time.

This version has been set by John Tams to a variant of the tune for Farewell to Tarwathie.

Lyrics

Henry Hills sings My True Love I've Lost

My true love I've lost, and I cannot her find,
For who knows, for who knows that she mayn't change her mind?
I'll go and search some shady grove by night and by day,
For to find, for to find, for to find,
For to find out my own true love, the girl that I love best.

And when I have found out my joy and heart's delight,
I'll comfort her more kinder by day and by night;
It's I will prove more constant than any turtle-dove
Unto her, unto her, unto her,
Unto her like some lover I always will prove true.

Here's Venus and Volum, they were both as one,
So keep yourself single as you and I have done;
So keep yourself single, so constant I'll retire
Unto her, unto her, unto her,
Unto her like some Venus that flourishes like fire.

We'll make the bugle speak, and the serpent shall sing,
here's instruments of music for to make those valleys ring;
The huntsman he shall holloa, and the hounds shall make a noise,
For to fill, for to fill, for to fill,
To fill my love's heart with ten thousand of bright joys.

The Etchingham Steam Band sings Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away

Some tyrant has stolen my true love away
And it's why in old England no longer can stay.
I will cross the wide ocean all on my bare breast
For to search for my true love that I love the best.

And it's when I've found out my joy and my delight
I will welcome her kindly by day and by night.
Here's a health to all others that are loyal and just
Here's confusion to the rivals that lives in distrust.

There's Venus and Volum, they are both joined as one,
So keep yourselves single as you and I have done,
So keep yourselves single and constant I'll retire
Unto her like some Venus that flourishes like fire.

The bugle shall speak and the serpent shall sing
There'll be instruments of music for to make the valleys ring.
Oh the huntsman he shall holler and the hounds shall make their noise
For to fill my love's heart with ten thousand bright joys.

Keith Kendrick sings Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True-Love Away

Some tyrant has stolen my true love away
And it's I in old England no longer can stay.
I will cross the wide ocean all on my bare breast
In search of my true love that I love the best.

And when that I've found out my joy and my delight
I will welcome her kindly by day and by night.
Here's a health to all others that are loyal and just
And here's confusion to the rivals that lives in distrust.

Now there's Venus and Volum they are both joined as one,
So keep yourselves single as you and I have done,
So keep yourselves single, so constant I'll retire
Unto her like some Venus that flourishes like fire.

For the bugle shall speak and the serpent shall sing
There'll be instruments of music for to make the valleys ring.
Oh the huntsman he'll holler and the hounds will make their noise
For to fill my love's heart with ten thousand bright joys.

(repeat first verse)

Jon Boden sings Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away

Some tyrant has stolen my true love away
And here in old England I'll no longer stay.
I will cross the wide ocean all on my bare breast
In search for my true love who I love the best.

And when I have found her, my joy and delight,
I'll be constant unto her by day and by night.
Here's a health to all others that are loyal and just
And confusion to the rivals who thrive in distrust.

The bugle shall speak and the serpent shall sing
There'll be instruments of music for to make the woods ring.
Oh the huntsman he'll holler and the hounds make their noise
For to fill my love's heart with ten thousand bright joys.

Steeleye Span sing Some Rival

Some rival has stolen my true love away
So I in old England no longer can stay;
I will swim the wide ocean around my fair breast
To find out my true love, the one I love the best.

And when I have found out my joy and delight
I will welcome him kindly by day and by night.
For the bells shall be ringing and the drums make a noise
For to welcome my true love with ten thousand joys.

Here's a health to all lovers that are loyal and just
Here's confusion to the rival that lives in distrust.
For it's I'll be as constant as a true turtle dove
And it's never will I prove false to my love.

(repeat first verse)

Eliza Carthy sings The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away

The Americans have stolen my true love away
And I in old England no longer can stay.
I will cross the briny ocean all on my sad breast
To find out my true love who I do love best.

And when I have found him, my joy and delight
I'll be constant unto him by day and by night;
I will always prove as constant as a true turtle dove
And I never will in no time prove false to my love.

When meeting is a pleasure but parting's a grief
And an inconstant lover is worse than a thief.
For a thief he will but rob you, take all that you have,
But an inconstant lover brings you to the grave.

The grave it will rot you and bring you to dust;
There is not one in twenty pretty ladies can trust.
For they'll kiss you and court you and swear they'll prove true
And the very next morning they will bid you adieu.

Come all you pretty maidens wherever you be
Don't settle your mind on yon sycamore tree;
For the leaves they will wither and the branches will die
And you'll be forsaken, you won't know not for why.

Narthen sing The Rifles

Oh, the Rifles have stolen my dear jewel away,
And I in old England no longer can stay;
I will cross the wide ocean, all on my bare breast,
𝄆 To find my own true love,
To find my own true love,
To find my own true love who I do love best. 𝄇

And when that I find him, my own heart's delight,
I will prove to him kinder, by day and by night,
I will prove to him kinder than the soft turtle-dove,
𝄆 And I ne'er will prove false,
I ne'er will prove false,
I ne'er will prove false to my own one true love. 𝄇

And when we are married the bells they shall ring,
With many sweet changes our love they will bring;
The music shall play and the drums make a noise,
𝄆 To welcome my true love,
To welcome my true love,
To welcome my true love with ten thousand bright joys. 𝄇

(repeat first verse)

Links and Acknowledgements

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Some Tyrant Has Stolen My True Love Away. I copied Henry Hill's version from this thread.

Eliza Carthy's version was transcribed by Kira White, and Narthen's by Henry Peacock.